Our nation’s Founders would be proud of the work and ideals of the Independent Women’s Forum. This is a group of dedicated and caring women committed to the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility for everyone.

Women’s issues are of paramount importance to this Administration and to me. It is one of my primary goals, while at the Department of Labor, to focus on women’s issues — such as, retirement security and flexible, family-oriented benefits.

Retirement security has always been a concern for women. And now, more than ever, we need to make sure women have the knowledge and opportunity to prepare for a secure retirement. Part-time employment, time away from the workforce, and a long life expectancy are all challenges women must consider when preparing for retirement.

In the fall, the Department of Labor will organize the second National Summit on Retirement Savings. I am looking forward to having full discussions and developing practical solutions for increasing retirement security for American women.

A growing number of women now have two jobs — balancing time at work and managing the demands of family. While the federal government has offered flexible, family-oriented benefits to its employees for over two decades, private employers are prohibited from offering the same benefits. President Bush and I believe the federal government should lead by example, not exclusivity. We need creative ideas to solve modern problems and the Independent Women’s Forum can help.

I am optimistic about the opportunities younger generations of women will have because of the path that was cleared by women like those in the Independent Women’s Forum. Together, we can make changes that are in the best interests of all working women.